The city of Kenai will be busting at the seams this weekend as the 13th annual Kenai River Festival kicks off once again.
The event will be held at the Green Strip Park in Kenai near the ball fields and runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The two-day festival is a celebration of the Kenai River and a way to highlight its importance to the community while having fun in the process, said Josselyn Burke of the Kenai Watershed Forum.
"It grew out of the desire to keep the river clean and healthy for future generations," she said. "The river touches the lives of everyone in this community in one way or another."
This year's festival again will feature a myriad of river-themed educational, entertainment and cultural events.
"The Kenaitze Indian drum group will kick off the festival both days by playing at 11 a.m.," Burke said. "On Saturday, the parade starts at 11:30 a.m. with a 29-foot painted salmon for the kids."
The giant float will be similar to the dragons in Chinese parades.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will do something new this year called salmon printing, she said. This is where they paint the side of a salmon then press it to a shirt to make a print. The shirts will sell for $5 and be one of the only things that isn't free at the festival.
"The Bird Treatment and Learning Center will be there with live raptors," Burke said. "They'll have a great horned owl, a rough-legged hawk, a great gray owl and a golden eagle."
Live music will play throughout the event, courtesy of local musicians such as Hobo Jim, Joe Ray and Katie Skrah, Bunny Swan Gease and many others.
"We've invited artisans from all over Alaska to come and share their work," Burke said. "There will be everything from pelts, paintings, pottery and bead work. It's all made here in Alaska and will be for sale."
The Alaska Division of Emer-gency Services will bring its earthquake simulator, as well a lot of disaster-related literature and information.
There will be a lot for the kids to do, too, Burke said. Events include a children's hands-on science tent, fish model painting, face painting and puppet shows by the Kenai Peninsula Puppeteers.
There also will be fishing clinics and casting practice, environmental exhibits and a 5-kilometer Run for the River.
Registration for the race begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, and the race starts at 10 a.m. The Kenai Water-shed Forum currently is accepting registration forms for the run. Pre-registration is $5; it's $10 the day of the race.
For any additional information about the festival, call 260-5449.
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